I love Cracker Jacks. Pop one in your mouth and let the thin caramel candy shell melt into a piece of popcorn or peanut (though the peanut part has become like looking for the pork in a can of Campbell's Pork and Beans. It ain't there). Still, always at the bottom of the box was a cheap ring and fake jewel or a magic trick for you to try. However that's not the case any longer. Now days when you buy Cracker Jack (most likely at a 99 cent store) there is never a real prize in it. Sure there's a word game printed on a small fold out piece of paper, but is that a prize? I don't think so.
The same thing used to be true with cereal prizes. Sure there were many that required you to save up a few box tops and to send them into the Kellogg or Post cereal company in exchange for a cheap piece of crap, but many cereals used to actually have prizes inside of them when you bought them. I remember when I lived in Battle Creek (the Mecca of breakfast cereal production) there was a lady that went to our church whose job it was was to oversee the placement of small trinkets of toys in the packages of things like Frosted Flakes or Sugar Smacks. Inevitably some of the toys or and surprises would land on the floor and get broken and she would bring them to us children at the church as presents.
Now days the era of extra gifts has passed. No more can one save up box tops to send to Battle Creek to get a real Raccoon Skin Cap from Davy Crockett or a secret decoder ring from whatever radio or TV star of the day was pushing. The kids today are being screwed by ever thinning profit margins that make promotion products and gifts sort of a joke and that's really sad. I actually used to like saving my boxtops to get a balsa-wood glider or an assemble it yourself model of a car of the popular TV show (Batman) of the time.
So, is it just me or do Cracker Jack and cereal toys really suck these days?